The Phinal Word: The Miami Dolphins' Pass Rush Has Come to Town
Two weeks ago, Chad Pennington got hurt. Miami fans everywhere were screaming a) Chad Henne! b) Pat White! or c) NOOOOOOO!
Henne was the only quarterback the Fins had available to suit up against the Chargers that afternoon; Pat White being inactive. Why was White inactive? Why were so many fans' dreams of the WildPat going unfulfilled?
Because the Dolphins decided to activate a certain linebacker named Cameron Wake.
For the unenlightened (and if that's the case, lighten up), Wake is the man who ran roughshod over a depleted Buffalo offensive line, notching three sacks, four tackles for loss, and a forced fumble.
I have appointed myself the unofficial biographer of Cameron Wake. And for those of you who saw my award-winning documentary on why my roommate needs to clean the kitchen, you know that I'm quite qualified.
Cameron Wake was born January 30, 1982 in Beltsville, Maryland. He attended Penn State and played as a linebacker there, recording 191 total tackles, 8.5 sacks, and 24 tackles for loss.
Wake went undrafted out of Penn State, signed briefly with the New York Giants and was released. It was at this point he discovered he hated quarterbacks, especially those who played for the CFL.
Luckily for Wake, his destructive tendencies toward canuck pivots was nourished, and he signed a contract with the B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League.
In two seasons with the Lions, Wake had two double-digit sack seasons (16 and 23). It was at this point the NFL realized they had deported the wrong man. A bidding war broke out for Wake's services and he and his unholy crusade against all things quarterback arrived in Miami.
(Insert fist pump here)
Now, a Michael Moore film that wasn't. But I just fear for my health to gain the amount of weight necessary to match the big man from Flint. Yes, that was a fat joke. I'm not above them.
Miami now possesses a three-headed pass rushing monster led by Wake, Jason Taylor, and the returning Joey Porter.
Jason Taylor should be thanking the Football Gods that they don't watch Dancing With the Stars, or even Redskins games for that matter (would you?).
Lest we forget that JT had two of his best seasons when he was surrounded with another good pass rusher. While paired with Adewale Ogunleye in 2002-03, Taylor had 18.5 and 13 sack seasons (Ogunleye had 9.5 and 15 sacks, respectively). When he and Wake were united last week, Taylor notched himself two sacks.
It's a proven formula, you pair the aging, but still skilled defensive end, with a younger, more dynamic pass rusher. It's exactly what the Giants did to keep Michael Strahan fresh throughout their Super Bowl run. Having him and Osi Umenyiora (plus a pinch of Justin Tuck) together was dynamite.
And even though Joey Porter had a monster season last year, there's no telling how he could benefit from another legit presence to keep teams from ganging up on him. Even Randy Starks got in on the action last week, grabbing himself a sack. It just can't hurt the Dolphins having Wake out there.
Which brings me to this week's game against the New York Jets. Picture a nice 3rd-and-long for the Jets' offense. The Fins can trot out Taylor, Porter, and Wake to make Mark Sanchez start sweating like Rex Ryan does while eating (and Michael Moore too for that matter). Chalk up another fat joke.
In the brutal game it's bound to be, pressuring Sanchez could be the difference between winning and losing for Miami. In three losses, the Fins netted five sacks. And against Buffalo, even though their offensive line looks like a loose turnstile, the Fins had six sacks.
It's not rocket surgery. If you can pressure the quarterback you can win football games. It's why Peyton Manning picked the Fins apart on their first Monday nighter; he could have put a 500-piece jigsaw puzzle together back there.
And now the Wake-Taylor-Porter trifecta offers a unique and intimidating way to get pressure. For a team that has rookie corners in a suspect secondary, this is a great way to lessen their burden.
At this point I'd also like to dub myself the unofficial nickname-giver for Cameron Wake. Personally, I enjoy Cameron "He sees you when you're sleeping, he knows when you're a-" Wake.
I think I might have beat Chris Berman to the punch on that one.
Got five minutes? Go check out The Chirp Show. It's like a dinner party on your computer, and Wolfgang Puck's invited.
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